Riverdale, NY – Recently, Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, President of Manhattan College issued a statement to the College community and wider Riverdale community, condemning recent attacks on local synagogues, and called for Lasallians, and all brothers and sisters in faith to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community.

The recent attacks on four Riverdale synagogues are painful reminders of the continuing scourge of hatred in our communities.  We reach out today in solidarity and sorrow to our Jewish sisters and brothers—to our students, faculty, and staff, and to our neighbors, colleagues, and friends in the Riverdale community.  We condemn these despicable acts as we reassert our commitment to building a world, through education, in which such violence and hatred—and the evil ideologies that fuel them—have no place.

We also redouble our commitment to working with our friends and neighbors, as we have been for many years, led by our Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center and its mission to “help eradicate human suffering, prejudice, and racism through education.” The Center embodies in a special way our institutional commitment to interfaith partnership and collaboration.  In that spirit, the Center’s leadership, under the direction of Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, is reaching out to the communities affected.  One immediate step in that effort will be a Go Fund Me campaign to help with repairs. Please be on the lookout for an invitation to participate.

As the chair of our Council for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Ira Gerhardt, wrote in response to these events: “Manhattan is a community that will always stand against bigotry, whether it lives in the hearts and souls of people or in the rocks and bricks they throw.”

And, as Brother Jack Curran, FSC, Vice President for Mission, reminds us, quoting the 2020 Declaration on the Lasallian Mission: Challenges, Convictions, and Hopes:

We believe that another world is possible, and that education is a fundamental force for building it.  Our Lasallian educational perspective aims to build societies where peace, equity, social justice, civic participation, the raising up of common dreams, and respect for freedom and difference are possible.

Let us stand together as we redouble our efforts to build a world protecting human dignity everywhere and advancing the full freedom of all.


Brennan O’Donnell